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Advanced Cell Phones Found in Food Shipment for MKO Members

An Iraqi official revealed that 80 advanced cell phones were discovered in a consignment of food destined for Camp Ashraf, MKO’s former paramilitary base in Northern Iraq.

"Iraq’s security forces stopped the Camp Ashraf-bound shipment for inspection and discovered these advanced cell phones," said Uday al-Khadran, governor of Iraqi Khalis town, during a press conference, Habilian Association reported on Monday.

Camp Ashraf is the former paramilitary headquarters of the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCRI), in which they used to live for nearly three decades. Some 3100 of them have been relocated to Camp Liberty near Baghdad International Airport, and nearly 100 others still remain at their long-held base. The relocation follows a deal between the United Nations and the Iraqi government on the expulsion of the MKO members from Iraq.

In late May, the acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs at the US State Department told a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee that although US officials have worked hard to persuade the MKO’s leadership to cooperate in the departures, "very few have been allowed to move."

The US State Department official responsible for Near Eastern affairs appealed the group for cooperation.

Al-Khadran said the secret transfer of these mobile phones reveals the fact that they were intended for illegal purposes.

The governor of Khalis called on the government of Iraq to launch a probe into the case.

Many of the MKO members have abandoned the terrorist organization while most of those still remaining in the group are said to be willing to quit but are under pressure and torture not to do so.

A recent Human Rights Watch report accused the MKO of running prison camps in Iraq and committing human rights violations.

According to the Human Rights Watch report, the outlawed group puts defectors under torture and jail terms.

The group, founded in the 1960s, blended elements of Islamism and Stalinism and participated in the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran in 1979. Ahead of the revolution, the MKO conducted attacks and assassinations against both Iranian and Western targets.

The group started assassination of the citizens and officials after the revolution in a bid to take control of the newly-established Islamic Republic. It killed several of Iran’s new leaders in the early years after the revolution, including the then President, Mohammad Ali Rajayee, Prime Minister, Mohammad Javad Bahonar and the Judiciary Chief, Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks by MKO members in 1981.

The group fled to Iraq in 1986, where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and where it helped the Iraqi dictator suppress Shiite and Kurd uprisings in the country.

The terrorist group joined Saddam’s army during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988) and helped Saddam and killed thousands of Iranian civilians and soldiers during the US-backed Iraqi imposed war on Iran.

Since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the group, which now adheres to a pro-free-market philosophy, has been strongly backed by neo-conservatives in the United States, who eventually took the MKO off the US terror list.

The US formally removed the MKO from its list of terror organizations in early September 2012, one week after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent the US Congress a classified communication about the move. The decision made by Clinton enabled the group to have its assets under US jurisdiction unfrozen and do business with American entities, the State Department said in a statement at the time.

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